News
 

The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) calls for an end to continued hate speech based on one’s ethnic or tribal orientation because it is a violation of human rights.
 
The smear politically motivated campaigns targeted at individuals on account of their tribe or place of origin is discriminatory and unconstitutional.
 
The right to equality and protection against any form of discrimination, including based on one’s tribe, is guaranteed under Article 23 of the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia and must be respected by everyone.
 
The ruling Patriotic Front (PF) Party leadership is particularly called upon to provide effective leadership against tribalism by publicly censuring or reprimanding their leaders and members engaging in hate and tribal remarks.
 
Tribal remarks constitute hate speech and are also prohibited under the Public Order Act because in addition to being a violation of human rights, it is a recipe for breach of national peace, unity and stability.
 
The Commission calls upon everyone not to sacrifice respect for human rights, national peace, unity and stability for selfish and unsustainable political gain.
 
Further, the Commission wishes to advise that if no practical measures are taken to curtail tribal hatred which is becoming systemic, it may reach the threshold of a crime against humanity.
 
Perpetrators of tribal hate speech must be reminded that tribe, like race, is a birth right and therefore, so fundamental a human right that its violation may ignite deep rooted negative consequences for the country.
 
In some countries tribal hatred caused widespread discrimination, conflict, civil war and genocide.

It is for this reason that tribal hatred and discrimination should not be tolerated or seen as a matter of mere politicking.
 
The Commission calls for the upholding of the “One Zambia, One Nation”, in words and practice for continued national unity, peace, respect and protection of everyone’s rights and freedoms.
 
Issued by:
 
Mudford Mwandenga
Chairperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) is deeply concerned at the continued detention of Bishop Joseph Kazhila and calls for his immediate release on Police Bond or that he be taken to court without further delay.
 
The continued detention of Bishop Kazhila, for almost a week without taking him to court or granting him police bond is unlawful and a violation of his rights to liberty and equal protection of the law as enshrined in Articles 13 and 18 of the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia.
 
Section 33 of the Criminal Procedure Code Act, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia which gives legal effect to Article 13 of the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia, provides that persons detained without warrant should be taken before the courts of law within 24 hours failure to which the Police should consider granting such a suspect police bond.
 
Article 13 should be read together with Article 18 (2)(a) of the Constitution of Zambia Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia which provides that every person charged with a criminal offence is presumed innocent until proven or pleaded guilty.  The continued detention of Bishop Kazhila without taking him to court, on a bondable offence, constitutes extra-judicial punishment, which is a clear violation of human rights.
 
There is judicial precedence in this country to the effect that over-detention is illegal and that detention should not be used to facilitate investigations at the expense of respect for human rights.
 
Therefore, Commission takes this opportunity to make a clarion call for respect for constitutionalism, rule of law and human rights while maintaining law, order and peace during and after the unfortunate security situation prevailing in Chingola District on the Copperbelt Province.
 
Issued by:
 
Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) calls on the Zambia Police Service to grant Mr. Fumba Chama, popularly known as Pilato, and three others police bond or take them to court today.

The Commission is calling on the restoration of the right to liberty of Mr. Chama and his co-accused in the alleged unlawful assembly charge Mr. Lazarus Mambwe, and the Alliance for Community Action Executive Director Ms. Laura Miti and the Programme Manager Mr. Bornwell Mwewa in accordance with the state obligation to respect the rights of suspects.

Further, Section 33 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) Act provides that accused persons who are detained without a warrant may be granted police bond if it is not practicable to take them before an appropriate competent court of law within 24 hours.

The Commission is confident that the courts of law will admit the suspects to bail on reasonable and necessary conditions pending trial because the offences they are charged with are bailable.

The Commission wishes to take this opportunity to express its repeated concern over the routine arresting and detention of individuals or groups of individuals who are peacefully exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression.

The continued abuse of the Public Order Act grossly undermines the respect for constitutionalism, rule of law and human rights and must be stopped for the sake of good governance. It is the Commission’s considered view that it is unfair and unjustifiable to treat individuals who are peacefully expressing their views on matters of public interest as common criminals.

Issued by:

Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) commends His Excellency, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the President of the Republic of Zambia, for pardoning 961 inmates from the various Correctional Facilities across the country on Christmas Day.
 
The pardoning of the 961 inmates on 25th December 2019 brings the total of inmates President Lungu has pardoned this year alone to 3,325. On 25th May, which is Africa Freedom Day, President Lungu pardoned 2,182 inmates while on Independence Day, 24th October 2019, the President also pardoned 283 inmates in exercising his Prerogative of Mercy Powers under Article 97 of the Constitution of Zambia.
 
The gesture of compassion by the President which has resulted into restoration of the right to liberty for thousands of ex-inmates who have been re-integrated with their families and communities is highly commendable.
 
The number of inmates being eligible for pardon is an indication that the on-going reforms under the Zambia Correctional Services are bearing fruits as ex-offenders are graduating into law abiding citizens ready to contribute to community well-being and public safety.
It is the position of the Commission that deserving inmates should be given a second change by way of pardoning so that they can contribute to the well-being of their families, communities and national development at large.
 
The Commission wishes to call upon those who have been given a second chance not to betray the public confidence and trust that has been exercised by the President through the exercise of his prerogative of mercy by re-offending society.
 
Further, the Commission appeals to individuals, families and communities to receive and support the ex-inmates without any form of prejudice, stigma and discrimination because anyone is bound to find themselves in a similar or same situation.
 
There is also need for enhanced support to correctional and extension services and restorative justice and peace building programme to empower the Zambia Correctional Service to effectively facilitate and monitor  re-entry and re-integration of ex-inmates into society and restoring relationships between victims and offenders and their families.
 
The ever increasing population boom in correctional facilities has been contributing to overcrowding, which results into a wide range of violations of the rights of inmates. It is therefore encouraging that the Executive is taking practical measures towards redressing the situation.
 
However, there is need for the Legislature and the Judiciary to also play their respective roles aimed at ensuring that custodial sentences are a last resort but encourage non-custodial sentences aimed at promoting rehabilitation, restorative justice and peace-building for sustainable national development. Further, there is need to expedite and support the process of repealing the Prisons Act and replace it with the Zambia Correctional Services Act.
 
[The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the Zambian Constitution [Amendment] Act No. 2 of 2016 with an overall mandate of ensuring that the Bill of Rights is upheld and promoted]
 
Issued by:
 
Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

Vice President of the Republic of Zambia Inonge Wina says the government is open to the consultative process for abolition of death penalty and would do everything possible within its powers to respect the right to life.

The Vice President said this during the commemoration of the international human rights day held on 10th December, 2019 at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.

Read full speech

The Human Rights Commission calls on the Zambia Police Service to investigate and arrest the suspects in connection with the brutal assault of the Patriots for Economic Progress (PEP) during a peaceful demonstration against the alleged overpricing of 42 fire tender engines in Lusaka.

The Commission has confirmed that the PEP President, Mr. Sean Tembo, reported to Lusaka Central Police the case of being attacked and robbed by some known and unknown people who were allegedly armed with dangerous weapons such as guns and machetes on Cairo Road in Lusaka.

It is therefore expected that in accordance with the rule of law, the police will swiftly act on the reported crime in order to end impunity and lawlessness that has in the past resulted in grave violation of human rights such as deaths and injuries of victims and loss of property.

The fact that Mr. Tembo is reported to have provided the Police with names of suspected assailants should provide the police with a lead in initiating investigations and bringing the suspected culprits to account through the due process of the law.

The Commission has engaged the police command to find out why there was no police protection or policing of the lawful public procession as required by law. However, the police have indicated that there was a last minute advice to Mr. Tembo that the police were not going to be available to monitor the procession because they had a sudden commitment.

The Commission is deeply concerned at the growing and apparently justified public perception that the police deliberately and maliciously neglect or refuse to protect individuals with divergent views in order to justify their routine violation of the right to freedom of assembly through the abuse of the Public Order Act.

The right to freedom of expression of divergent views and opinions is the foundation of a multi-party democracy and a pluralistic society such as Zambia, and the State has an obligation to respect and protect that right without any form of discrimination.

The Commission also calls for political tolerance, civility and respect for the rule of law and human rights. Those who commit crimes must be punished to avoid creating a fertile ground for impunity, civil disobedience and anarchy, which is inimical to national interest.

[The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the Zambian Constitution [Amendment] Act No. 2 of 2016 with an overall mandate of ensuring that the Bill of Rights is upheld and promoted]

Issued by:

Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) commends His Excellency, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the President of the Republic of Zambia, for pardoning 283 inmates from the various Correctional Facilities across the country on the eve of Zambia’s 55th Independence Anniversary Celebrations.

The pardoning of 245 male and 38 female inmates by President Lungu in exercise of his Prerogative of Mercy Powers under Article 97 of the Constitution of Zambia was significant towards restoring the dignity, rights and freedoms of the affected individuals.

The pardoning of inmates was also necessary towards decongesting Correctional Facilities which were usually overcrowded between 250% and 300%, a situation that contributed to the violation of a wide range of human rights violations.

It was a momentous occasion for the pardoned individuals to join and their families and the rest of Zambians in celebrating Zambia’s 55th Independence Anniversary Celebrations under the theme “Our Freedoms, Our Country and Our Responsibility”.

The Commission is commending the President’s exercise of mercy against the background of the unfavourable human rights situation in detention and correctional facilities which the Commission has consistently been bringing to the attention of the various legal and justice sector players in Zambia.

Further, the Commission wishes to thank the Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Stephen Kampyongo, MP and the Minister of Justice, Hon. Given Lubinda, MP for their steadfast leadership and understanding on matters relating to promoting and protecting the rights of inmates.

The Commission is particularly encouraged that its support to the Government to improve the rights of inmates has on many occasions been appreciated by the Government through taking of practical steps towards redressing the situation, including pardoning some of the recommended inmates based on various human rights considerations.

However, the Commission is saddened by the death of an inmate it had recommended for pardoning on account of ill-health and old age, a day before the announcement of his pardoning. The Commission commiserates with his family on the tragic loss. Nonetheless, the Commission is hugely grateful that the President had done what was humanely possible by exercising his constitutional powers of mercy and compassion on individuals convicted by the courts.

Finally, the Commission wishes to congratulate all those who were pardoned and appeal to them not to betray the President’s Prerogative of Mercy by backsliding into old behaviour that had caused them to be in conflict with the law and society at large.

Their pardoning should be an opportunity for the released inmates to understand and appreciate the fact that despite offending society, society at large through the President has forgiven them. Therefore, the released inmates should give back their best to society by living a life consistent with this year’s Independence Anniversary theme, “Our Freedoms, Our Country and Our Responsibility”.

[The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the Zambian Constitution [Amendment] Act No. 2 of 2016 with an overall mandate of ensuring that the Bill of Rights is upheld and promoted]


Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

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The mission of the Human Rights Commission is to promote and protect human rights for all people in Zambia through investigations of human rights violations, rehabilitation of victims of human rights abuses, education of communities and advocacy for policy and legal changes influenced by evidence based research

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